Since Microsoft’s Office 365 suite launched way back in 2011 (wow!) it has become the de facto business productivity suite of cloud based business applications.
Underpinned and for a long time driven by the core email service – Exchange Online – which allowed businesses to cast off their cumbersome, unreliable, costly Exchange servers the Office 365 suite has grown & evolved substantially throughout its life – new functionality and services have been added throughout this time to make it increasingly useful in other key areas of business and information worker productivity – from the well recognised Office suite encompassing Word, Excel, Outlook and Powerpoint itself to Sharepoint and One Drive for secure document storage and sharing, Microsoft Intune for Mobile and Device management, One Note, Planner and a host of other products and services including – particularly relevant in light of the current world situation – Microsoft Teams for collaboration, messaging, video conferencing and increasingly, telephony services.
Fast forward to 2017 and Microsoft launched a new set of “packages” of, fundamentally, these same cloud services under the shortened “Microsoft 365” banner. Initially designed as a much simpler “super suite” of core services, including Windows 10 licences an additional out-of-the-box functionality and default configuration, Microsoft 365 was designed to help businesses and organisations take advantage of a more integrated, better secured set of cloud services.
Of course, this caused and continues to cause much confusion for the consumer who understandably does not understand – and nor do they particularly want to! – the differences between Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office 365.
Here at Vital, we have been promoting the benefits of Microsoft 365 to our clients, partners, prospects and wider network for some time and we are pleased to see that Microsoft are now taking steps to try and address some of this confusion by consolidating all the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 packages under the Microsoft 365 banner.
We won’t dwell on the details of each individual package here – this is pretty well understood now and very well documented on Microsoft’s website; we would of course welcome you to contact us here at Vital – a Microsoft Cloud Gold Partner – to answer any questions you may have. However, we do think it’s worth sharing a bit of detail of the changes being made; for clients this may be reflected in future invoices and for anyone looking or considering Microsoft 365 or Office 365 this might help ensure you are picking the right suite or bundle for you.
Office 365 Business Premium – becomes Microsoft 365 Business Standard
One of the most popular packages, Office 365 Business Premium includes all the core services – Email, Teams, Sharepoint, OneDrive etc – plus a license for the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook) to install on your devices
Office 365 Business Essentials – becomes Microsoft 365 Business Basic
Similarly popular for basic/remote workers or businesses with pre-existing licences for the Office package, this is essentially the same as Business Premium but does not provide a licence/copy of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook etc) to install on your devices
Microsoft 365 Business – becomes Microsoft 365 Business Premium
Microsoft 365 – in our opinion this should be the ‘default’ choice for most businesses – is a comprehensive package, similar to Office 365 Business Premium but with much more “hidden” value – vastly improved security and device management capabilities for example – that help to protect businesses and their users.
Office 365 Business and Pro Plus – become Microsoft 365 Apps
Basic licences providing the traditional Office package (Word, Excel, Outlook etc) only – no cloud services such as Email or Teams. A rare package in most SME environments.
Well – that’s it! – the changes should come in to place on April 21st. Some of the other Office 365 packages (Enterprise “E” packages for example) currently retain their Office 365 designation… but we expect them to fall in to line at some point, too!
Of course if Vital can help to demystify any of the (increasingly complex!) Microsoft 365 or Office 365 landscape – please just drop us a line. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner with a specialism in Cloud, Compliance and Security and we would be delighted to help.